Studio Visit with Gloria Klein

. Gloria Klein's work table, laden with recently completed paintings on paper

In September, on a roll from my studio visits throughout the summer, I visited Gloria Klein on the Lower East Side. Klein lives in a large apartment complex two blocks from the East River on a stretch between the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges. Her one-bedroom apartment, filled with a decade-spanning collection of work by New York artists, is both home and studio. The studio takes up most of the living room.

I’ve been a fan of Klein’s geometric paintings since the first time I saw them, well over a decade ago at, I think, A.I.R. Gallery. (One such painting is visible on the wall in the picture above.) Her razor-sharp compositions call to mind rapidly multiplying crystalline structures, which she has assembled carefully into a grid matrix, so what looks initially to be wildly out of control visually in fact exists within the exquisite tension of chaos and order.

I'm dispensing with the captions. Just scroll down and take a look. All the paintings are 22 x 30 inches, acrylic on heavy watercolor paper

In Klein's most recent body of work she has switched from stretched canvas to 22 x 30” paper. These are the works I saw and photographed, and which appear here. It seems that in the process of moving from a tensioned surface to the smaller and more relaxed rectangle of heavyweight watercolor paper, the tension in her compositions has also relaxed.

“I paint a lot on paper now,” says Klein. The smaller workspace engendered the change in material, but she is careful to point out that the intent remains the same. “To me, it’s the same surface, the same concentration, the same hard edge.”

But the work seems, well, less edgy and more joyful, no? “Not joyful, playful. I wanted to relax the triangles."

So here you go: playful, saturated, geometric, a bit less tension but still intense.

. .
Klein does still paint on canvas, though in relatively small proportion. This is a work in progress


Virginia Broersma said...

Thanks for sharing this artist with us- it's nice to hear about other artists filling their living room with their studio!

Lori Buff said...

Klein's work is amazing and beautiful, the vibrant colors add to the tension you describe here.
My favorite is the painting of the circles. I love how she achieves such depth even with very flat, geometric images. It remands me of a project I had in school. It's a harder effect to pull off then one might think.

Casey Klahn said...

What works for me so much is the variety of compositions shown here. It would be heaven to see her work on exhibition. Fabulous!

kim matthews said...

Reminds me very much of Cynthia Sargent's textiles of the 1960s. Cool!

Rosa Phoenix said...

Joanne, I love your blog, and I especially enjoyed these last 2 posts. I was happy to see Siri Berg's work in the last post, I met her years ago! Great "behind the scenes" look into the artist's studio and the curator's mind. Thanks for blogging, I learn so much here.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the beautiful photos of Gloria Klein's studio and work